Shershaah

Shershaah (transl. Lion King) is a 2021 Indian Hindi-language biographical war film directed by Vishnuvardhan in his Bollywood debut and written by Sandeep Shrivastava. The film follows the life of Param Vir Chakra-awardee Captain Vikram Batra, from his first posting in the army to his death in the Kargil War. The film stars Sidharth Malhotra as Vikram Batra and Kiara Advani as his girlfriend Dimple Cheema. The film was produced by Dharma Productions and Kaash Entertainment, with Hiroo Yash Johar, Karan Johar, Apoorva Mehta, Shabbir Boxwala, Ajay Shah and Himanshu Gandhi serving as co-producers.[2]

Shershaah
Shershaah film poster.jpg
Official release poster
Directed byVishnuvardhan
Written bySandeep Shrivastava
Based onLife of Vikram Batra
Produced byHiroo Yash Johar
Karan Johar
Apoorva Mehta
Shabbir Boxwala
Ajay Shah
bhanwar singh Himanshu Gandhi
StarringSidharth Malhotra
Kiara Advani
CinematographyKamaljeet Negi
Edited byA. Sreekar Prasad
Music byScore:
John Stewart Eduri
Songs
Tanishk Bagchi
B Praak
Jasleen Royal
Javed-Mohsin
Vikram Montrose
Production
companies
Dharma Productions
Kaash Entertainment
Distributed byAmazon Prime Video
Release date
  • 12 August 2021 (2021-08-12)[1]
Running time
135 minutes
CountryIndia
LanguageHindi

Announced in May 2019, principal photography began in the same month and concluded in January 2020. Initially slated to be released on 3 July 2020, the film was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[3][4] The film then premiered on 12 August 2021 on Amazon Prime Video.[1] The film received mixed reviews from the critics, who praised Malhotra's performance and the action sequences but criticised the writing of the film.[5][6] On 31 August 2021, Amazon stated that Shershaah had become the most watched Indian film on the platform.[7]

PlotEdit

Vishal Batra delivers a talk on his brother Vikram Batra, narrating the story of his life.

A young Vikram Batra is playing cricket when he gets into a fight with elder teenage kids over a ball, revealing the fearless nature he later became known for. The TV series Param Vir Chakra inspires him to join the Indian Army. A montage shows his patriotism and his desire to join the army as he grows up. At 23, he gets commissioned into the Delta Company, 13th battalion, Jammu and Kashmir Rifles (13 JAK RIF) and posted to Sopore as a lieutenant. He develops cordial relations with both his men and locals and takes part in counterinsurgency operations. On one such operation, he defies his CO Lt. Sanjeev "Jimmy" Jamwal but neutralises the perpetrators and saves Jimmy's life. Jimmy reprimands his approach but gets close to him later.

Back at the base, Batra receives a letter from his girlfriend, Dimple Cheema. The film flashes back to 1995 when Batra and Dimple start dating. They decide to get married, however, Dimple's father refuses to accept Batra as they belong to different castes. To please her dad, Batra decides to give up his Army dream and join the Merchant Navy for a higher salary. However, his friend Sunny convinces him to not give up his dream. Consequently, Batra and Dimple fight over their future.

Back in present, Delta Company catches an insurgent group's henchman. In retaliation, the leader Haider ambushes Delta Company by luring them with intel of a weapons cache. Batra's friend Naib Subedar Bansi Lal is among those killed. Traumatised and vengeful, he tracks down Haider and obtains authorisation from the unit’s CO, Lt. Col. Yogesh Kumar Joshi for an operation. Delta Company led by Batra raids Haider's house, killing him. Subsequently, he prepares to go on leave as unbeknownst to him the Kargil War nears.

In May 1999 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf begins an offensive to capture Kashmir and sends troops to occupy mountain peaks in Kargil, violating the Geneva Convention and the Shimla Agreement. As news about a potential war gains traction, Batra decides to cut short his vacation and return. He makes his famous promise to Sunny "I'll either come back after raising the Indian flag in victory or return wrapped in it. But I'll come for sure."

The unit is moved to the Ghumri Army Base, as a reserve force, along with other regiments to acclimatise and prepare. The base comes under artillery fire that results in multiple casualties, including Batra's senior, Maj. Ajay Singh Jasrotia. Three weeks into the war, 13 JAK RIF is moved to active-duty to relieve 2nd Rajputana Rifles (2 RAJ RIF) and tasked with recapturing Point 5140 at 17,000 feet. Batra is assigned the codename "Shershaah" and victory signal "Yeh Dil Maange More", for radio communication. Jimmy and Batra lead their companies and recapture Point 5140 without casualties, garnering praise in the army and public. Batra is promoted to Captain and nominated for Maha Vir Chakra.

Following their impressive victory, the Army Command tasks 13 JAK RIF with capturing Point 4875 which overlooks National Highway 1 and would figuratively end the war. They begin the assault on Point 4875 the next day, but take heavy casualties due to rough terrain and multiple enemy bunkers. Eventually, they destroy the four bunkers they are aware of. Unaware of a fifth camouflaged bunker, they take heavy fire. Batra tasks Rifleman Yashpal to use a Pakistani RPG-7 at the bunker. A sniper however hits him before he can fire. Batra runs across open ground to rescue him and does so successfully but is hit multiple times by both sniper and AK-47 rounds. As he collapses, he watches Subedar Raghunath Singh take command and charge at the final bunker. He succumbs as the men raise the Indian flag in victory. He is posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra for his actions on Point 4875.

The ending shows his funeral in Palampur and a distraught Dimple.

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

Karan Johar confirmed in 2018 that he would be producing a biopic on the life of Captain Vikram Batra. The Batra family wanted Sidharth Malhotra to play Batra. He was eventually selected to portray the double role of Batra and his identical twin brother Vishal. Several actresses were in discussions to play Batra's fiancée, Dimple Cheema before Kiara Advani was cast. Malhotra started military training for the film in April 2019.[9] Before the official announcement of the film, it was speculated that the title will be "Mera Dil Maange More" but later was changed to "Shershaah".[citation needed]

The film was officially announced on 2 May 2019, with the title confirmed and shooting locations to be Chandigarh, Palampur, Kargil, Ladakh and Kashmir Valley.[10] Principal photography commenced on 7 May and the film wrapped on 12 January 2020.[11] Patchwork shots were completed by 23 October 2020.[12]

SoundtrackEdit

Shershaah
Soundtrack album by
Released16 August 2021[13]
GenreFeature film soundtrack
Length22:03
LanguageHindi
LabelSony Music India

The music of film was composed by Tanishk Bagchi, B Praak, Jasleen Royal, Javed-Mohsin and Vikram Montrose with lyrics written by Manoj Muntashir, Rashmi Virag, Anvita Dutt, Jaani and Tanishk Bagchi.[13]

Track listing
No.TitleLyricsMusicSinger(s)Length
1."Raataan Lambiyan"Tanishk BagchiTanishk BagchiJubin Nautiyal, Asees Kaur3:50
2."Ranjha"Anvita DuttJasleen RoyalB Praak, Jasleen Royal3:48
3."Kabhii Tumhhe"Rashmi ViragJaved-MohsinDarshan Raval3:50
4."Jai Hind Ki Senaa"Manoj MuntashirVikram MontroseVikram Montrose2:31
5."Kabhii Tumhhe" (Female Version)Rashmi ViragJaved-MohsinPalak Muchhal3:38
6."Mann Bharryaa 2.0"Jaani[13]B PraakB Praak[13]4:26
Total length:22:03

ReleaseEdit

The film was scheduled to release theatrically on 3 July 2020 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On 20 February 2021, the new release date was announced as 2 July 2021, before being postponed again.[14] The film premiered on 12 August 2021 on Amazon Prime Video.[1] It became Amazon Prime India's most watched film.[15]

ReceptionEdit

Upon release, Shershaah received mixed reviews from the film critics, who praised Malhotra's performance and the action sequences but criticised the writing of the film.[5][6] On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film currently holds a rating of 54% based on 13 reviews and an average rating of 5.2/10.[16]

Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama gave the film 3.5 stars out of 5 calling Shershaah "power-packed" and wrote, "Shershaah salutes the valor, courage and bravery of Kargil war hero Captain Vikram Batra, Inspirational and emotional. A game changer for Sidharth Malhotra. Commanding act. Unmissable!. Director Vishnu Varadhan narrates the story of Shershaah with utmost competency. Screenwriting is absorbing for most parts. The war sequences are executed with flourish. The finale is sure to leave you moist-eyed".[17]

Anna M. M. Vetticad of Firstpost gave the film 2.75 stars out 5 opining "Captain Vikram Batra biopic is gripping as an Army procedural", noting it as Malhotra's best performance since Kapoor and Sons, and that "Vishnu Varadhan could not have found a more suitable mainstream star to join him in memorialising one of India’s favorite war heroes."[18] Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV gave the film 2.5 stars by saying Malhotra "has what it takes to portray Batra with efficiency." He concluded "The cinematic firepower and flint take Shershaah much higher - and further - as a war drama".[19]

Anupama Chopra of Film Companion wrote, "The film's clunky structure doesn’t allow it to accrue tension or exert a grip, but it comes to life in the second hour once the battle begins".[20] Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express gave the film 2 stars out of 5 saying that "the Sidharth Malhotra film has neither the necessary drama inherent in a cracking war film, nor does it raise patriotic goosebumps”.[21] Writing for Hindustan Times, Rohan Nahaar praised the screenplay but criticised the direction stating that the "smartly choreographed action, a reverent tone, and Sidharth Malhotra's sincere performance can't make up for Vishnu Varadhan's uneven direction".[22]

Historical accuracyEdit

The talk Vishal Batra gives in the beginning of the film resembles the TEDx talk he gave in 2017 (evident from the same title and similar clothes.)[23]

The film depicts Vikram Batra and Dimple Cheema getting married, while she is unaware. In an interview with The Quint in 2016, Cheema revealed that, "while doing the parikrama of the Nishan Sahib, he was walking behind me. On completing the parikrama, he said 'Congratulations, Mrs. Batra'. I swirled around to see him holding one end of my dupatta." In Sikhism, completion of four rounds around the Nishan Sahib is considered a marriage ritual. The depiction of Batra filling Cheema's hair parting with his blood (a Hindu marriage ritual) was also confirmed by her in the same interview.[24]

The film shows Batra telling his friend, "I'll either come back after raising the Indian flag in victory or return wrapped in it. But I'll come for sure." Although, his twin, Vishal Batra confirmed Batra saying the words to "a friend",[25][26] it has been disputed as to who he actually said those words to.[27]

The movie portrays a Pakistani troop threatening Batra over the radio. Batra himself narrated this himself in his famous interview with Barkha Dutt recalling, "Oh Shershaah, you've come. Don't try to come up, otherwise you'll have a tough time... and that was the time they gave us a challenge and my guys they... they went wild."[28][29] The film also shows Pakistani troops asking the Indians to give them Madhuri Dixit. This has been previously confirmed by others who served in the unit.[25][26][30]

In the aftermath of capture of 5140, Batra is shown to use a journalist's satellite phone to call Cheema. In reality, he had borrowed a satellite phone but had called his father instead. His incomplete message, "Daddy, I've captured", was initially misinterpreted as a message of his capture.[31]

While climbing 4875, Batra is shown to charge at a bunker and kill three enemy troops alone in hand-to-hand combat. However, in reality, he had killed five enemy troops and sustained multiple injuries while doing so.[32][33][34][35][36]

Unlike the film, Batra died instantly after being hit by the sniper and did not live to see his men capture the point.[32][36]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Sidharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani starrer Shershaah to release on August 12 on Amazon Prime Video". Bollywood Hungama. 15 July 2021. Retrieved 15 July 2021.
  2. ^ "Vikram Batra biopic, tentatively titled Shershah, to go on floors this summer". Bollywood Hungama. 25 January 2019. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Shershaah First Look: Sidharth Malhotra is Captain Vikram Batra in intriguing posters, film to release on July 3, 2020". Bollywood Hungama. 16 January 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  4. ^ "Shershaah: On Birthday, Sidharth Malhotra Shares First Look Posters Of The Vikram Batra Biopic". NDTV. 16 January 2020. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Shershaah Review: Sidharth Malhotra's War Film Gets Mixed Reactions From Critics, Many Says 'Yeh Dil Maange More'". Yahoo! News. 12 August 2021. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  6. ^ a b "Shershaah Movie Review - Critics". www.addatoday.com. 15 August 2021. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  7. ^ Jha, Lata (31 August 2021). "'Shershaah' is most-watched film on Amazon Prime Video in India". mint.
  8. ^ "Kashmir's Bollywood actor Mir Sarwar in Laxmi Bomb with Akshay Kumar and Dharma Productions Shershaah". www.jkmonitor.org. 17 July 2020. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  9. ^ "Sidharth Malhotra begins training for Vikram Batra biopic". The Times of India. 18 April 2019. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  10. ^ "Shershaah: Karan Johar announces Vikram Batra biopic with Sidharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani". India Today. 2 May 2019. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  11. ^ "Kiara Advani, Sidharth Malhotra Wrap up Shershaah Shoot". News18. 13 January 2020. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  12. ^ "Sidharth Malhotra wraps up Shershaah, the biopic on Captain Vikram Batra". Bollywood Hungama. 23 October 2020. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  13. ^ a b c d "Shershaah – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack". Jiosaavn.
  14. ^ "Sidharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani's Shershaah to release on July 2". India Today. 20 February 2021. Retrieved 13 February 2021.
  15. ^ "Shershaah becomes Amazon Prime India's most watched movie, Sidharth Malhotra is 'overwhelmed with love". 30 September 2021. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  16. ^ "SHERSHAAH (2021)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  17. ^ Adarsh, Taran. "Tweet". Twitter. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  18. ^ "Shershaah movie review: Captain Vikram Batra biopic is gripping as an Army procedural, dips outside conflict zones". Firstpost. 12 August 2021. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  19. ^ "Shershaah Review: Sidharth Malhotra Has What It Takes But A War Hero Deserves A More Energetic Film". NDTV. 12 August 2021. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  20. ^ Chopra, Anupama. "Shershaah, On Amazon Prime Video, Doesn't Have The Daring Of Its Subject". Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  21. ^ "Shershaah movie review: Sidharth Malhotra-starrer needed to soar, for yeh dil maange more". The Indian Express. 12 August 2021. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  22. ^ "Shershaah review: Sidharth Malhotra plays Vikram Batra with saintly sincerity in Amazon's simplistic war drama". Hindustan Times. 12 August 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  23. ^ Magan, Srishti (13 August 2021). "This Tribute By Captain Vikram Batra's Twin Is The Most Inspiring Ted Talk You Will Ever Hear". www.scoopwhoop.com. ScoopWhoop. Retrieved 28 August 2021.
  24. ^ Talwar, Sushant (9 September 2016). "'I Wish He Was Here': The Heartbreaking Love Story of Vikram Batra". TheQuint. TheQuint. Retrieved 28 August 2021.
  25. ^ a b Vishal Batra (22 September 2017). My Brother, My Pride (Conference talk). Mangalore, Karnataka: TEDx.
  26. ^ a b Magan, Srishti (13 August 2021). "8 Powerful Dialogues From 'Shershaah' That Were Actually Spoken By Capt. Vikram Batra IRL". www.scoopwhoop.com. ScoopWhoop. Retrieved 28 August 2021.
  27. ^ Joshi, Namrata (12 August 2021). "'Shershaah' review: Casualty of war". National Herald. National Herald (India). Retrieved 28 August 2021.
  28. ^ Batra, Vikram (12 August 2021). "An Interview with Vikram Batra". NDTV (Interview). Interviewed by Barkha Dutt. Kargil: NDTV.
  29. ^ ""Yeh Dil Maange More": Kargil Hero Captain Vikram Batra's Story". ndtv.in. NDTV. Retrieved 28 August 2021.
  30. ^ "'From Madhuri Dixit, with love': What real Shershaah Captain Vikram Batra told Pakistani soldiers". Hindustan Times. Hindustan Times. 11 August 2021. Retrieved 28 August 2021.
  31. ^ Masih, Archana. "rediff.com: The soldier who became a legend". rediff.com. Rediff. Retrieved 28 August 2021.
  32. ^ a b Rawat, Rachna Bisht (2014). The Brave: Param Vir Chakra Stories. Penguin Books India Private Limited. p. 247. ISBN 9780143422358.
  33. ^ Bammi, Y. M. (2002). Kargil 1999, impregnable conquered. Gorkha Publishers. p. 279. ISBN 9788175253520.
  34. ^ Sawant, Gaurav C. (2000). Dateline Kargil: A Correspondent's Nine-week Account from the Battlefront. Macmillan India. p. 187. ISBN 9780333934081.
  35. ^ Malik, V. P. (2006). Kargil from Surprise to Victory. HarperCollins Publishers India. p. 180. ISBN 9788172236359.
  36. ^ a b Cardozo, Ian (2003). Param Vir: Our Heroes in Battle. Roli Books Private Limited. p. 124. ISBN 9789351940296.

External linksEdit